Easy Peasy : Coming to Myanmar from Thailand using the Phu Nam Ron / Htee Khee (Kanchanaburri / Dawei) border crossing (and vice-versa) – my step-by-step four-step guide.

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There is a minivan service straight through, though not in the same vehicle, from Khao San Road to Dawei for about €25. But where’s the fun in that?

This is the DIY option. It’s also the dry season description. It’s not so simple in rainy season.

IMPORTANT : As of September 2016 e-visas can be used at three land borders (Tachilek, Myawaddy and Kawthoung) but not yet at Htee Khee.

(Going to Thailand from Dawei? Just as easy peasy. Info at the bottom of this post).

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Top Tip – Start out early. Avoid Bangkok rush hour traffic.

Step 1. Bangkok to Kanchanaburri.

Aircon minivans [NO LONGER] leave from near Victory Monument for Kanchanaburri. They go from Mo Chit and Si Thai Mi (spelling?) gab bus stations. Tickets cost 130 Baht or do depending upon which company you buy from. I bought my ticket at 6.50am this morning for the 7am minivan from Mo Chit (having taken the BTS to the Mo Chit stop (not the same place and the number 77 bus (or number 3, 10 Baht)to the bus station. There is a ‘big bus’ fro Mo Chit at 10.30 which is going to mean getting to the border a bit late in the day. From what I hear from Ariane minivans are more plentiful and frequent from Si Thai Mi. Next time I’ll try from there. 

Today the minivan reached Kanchanaburri 2 hours and 20 minutes after leaving Bangkok. A second minivan left gif the border at 9.30 or a bit after. Kanchanaburri bus station is not big enough to get lost in. It’s 80 Baht to the border. 

Step 2 – Kanchanaburri to the border. The Phu Nam Ron transport is operated from desk B1.

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There are two types of transport on offer – minivans and a real bus. The minivans take 80 minutes, the bus 100 minutes. Approximately.

The first transport to leave each day is a minivan (M) at 9am. I missed that by five minutes, at least meaning plenty of time for breakfast. The second is a rickety old blue bus (B) at 10.30. After that it’s 12.00(M), 12.30(B), 2.00(B), 16.20(M), 17.00(B) and 18.00(M).

Coming the other way it’s minivans leaving Phu Nam Ron at 06.00(M), 07.20(M), 11.00(M), 14.30(M). I couldn’t work out what happens to the bus.

In Dawei I met people who had caught the 9am minivan from Kanchanaburri. They had to wait 90 minutes for transport down fro Htee Khee. So it seems there are always 90 minutes where you’re going nowhere. You can choose to spend them at the border, in Kanchanaburri, or in bed in Bangkok (but then you will have more traffic to deal with on the way out of town).

Today there was little waiting at the border. There were 4 of us making hitching tricky so we took the 800 Baht each option of a pick up to the Myanmar side and a Toyota Probox down to Dawei arriving before 5pm with a couple of stops to eat and let the engine cool. 

Step 3 – Crossing the border.

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Formalities are swift on both sides of the border. Crossing the 4km no-man’s land between the two is the main challenge of the day. You have the option of buying a minivan ticket (800 Bhat) to Dawei from an office just after the Thai border that removes the challenge. I chose to hitch previously. It didn’t take long to get a ride but the few vehicles going through are very full of people and stuff.

Some of the taxis that come up from Dawei shuttle between the border posts charging 200 Bhat.

The road on the Thai side of the border is good. The road on the Myanmar side is not. It’s pretty clear where the real border is. I think Htee Khee may be Burmese for very dusty.

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Step 4 – Getting to Dawei.

Another time I took one of the taxis that had come up from Dawei to go down to Dawei for 500 Bhat. I lost about an hour while the driver made a bit if extra cash going back and forth to the Thai border post.

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The road down is cut but not in any way surfaced. It’s part of the stalled Dawei Deep Sea port project. In places it’s pretty. Or would be if you could see it for the dust. It took three and a half hours to get to Dawei.

Twelve hours door to door. Could be done a bit quicker. Easy peasy.

Don’t forget to put your clock back by 30 minutes coming into Myanmar. And vice versa.

There are places to eat at the border if you have time there. Leaving it too late in the day to start getting up there might ensure that you have more time there than you want.

Going to Thailand from Dawei. Just as easy peasy. Minivans (20 to 25,000 Kyat) and share taxis leave from Dawei to Htee Khee at 8am (some earlier). They go from the small in-town bus station (not the main bus station which is 5km out of town). I just went this way (May ’16). Super slick connections meant I got from Dawei to Bangkok in 9.5 hours. Your from-Dawei driver should be willing to take you through no-man’s land to the Thai border for 100 baht / 3500 kyat. You should be there in time for the 2pm (80 baht) minibus to Kanchanaburri (the schedule says there is another at 2.30pm). This takes a bit over an hour. From Kanchanaburri minibuses (120 baht, last departure 7pm) run regularly to different locations in Bangkok. The one I got dropped near Khao San and went on to Victory Monument. They take a couple of hours to hit the edge of Bangkok. Then it all depends on the traffic.

What more do you need to know?

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One comment

  1. This guide is brilliant – thank you very much! I used it today and yesterday to get from Bangkok to Dawei. Nothing to add except that I set off late (at about 11) and then didn’t get to the border until 4.30. I opted to stay in a guesthouse on the Thai side rather than gamble on finding accommodation/a late taxi at the Myanmar border. It was clean (ish), 350 baht, and about 300 metres from the border.

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